First aircraft of new squadron arrives at Cannon

U.S. Air Force photo: Airman 1st Class Evelyn Chavez A PC-12 Pilatus parked on Cannon’s flightline Tuesday is the first of a planned 10 of the aircraft to be assigned to the 318th Special Operations Squadron over the next four years.

CNJ staff

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — Cannon Air Force Base reached another milestone Tuesday in its transition to a special operations base with the arrival of a new aircraft.

The PC-12 was delivered to the 27th Special Operations Wing and will be flown by the 318th Special Operations Squadron when it activates in March, according to a base press release.

The turboprop aircraft, selected for its versatile performance characteristics and ability to operate from short and unimproved runway surfaces, will provide battlefield mobility for special operations forces in theaters throughout the world, according to Air Force Special Operations Command officials.

The aircraft that arrived Tuesday is the first of three PC-12s scheduled for delivery to the 27th SOW this year, the release said.
“We’re excited to take the first delivery of this aircraft,” said Col. Tim Leahy, 27th SOW commander. “And we’re excited to bring a new mission to Cannon Air Force Base.”

A total of 10 PC-12s are planned for purchased over the next four years, the release said.

When fully active, the 318 SOS will be comprised of approximately 90 airmen.

Air Force Special Operations Command took command of Cannon on Oct. 1.

Cannon’s new tenants began trickling into the base in November. The first squadron, the 73rd, which includes 150 personnel and four MC-130Ws, is expected to be at full strength by February, according to previous projections. It is expected to reach 12 aircraft by 2009.

The Air Force has said the final active-duty population at Cannon is expected to be between 4,400 to 5,600 people, building up over the next three years.